Kiwi coach grabs underdog label

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has immediately grabbed his side the underdog status for the upcoming World Twenty20 semi-final against England, despite having the better recent record.


England coach Trevor Bayliss this week described the unbeaten Kiwis as hard grinders with a working-class mentality.

But Hesson has taken the opportunity to describe England as dangerous.

That was despite them losing their opening tournament match against the West Indies and only scraping past minnows Afghanistan.

Hesson also appears to have forgotten the eight-wicket drubbing his side dished out to England in last year’s 50-over World Cup.

“They bat very deep,” Hesson said ahead of the match in Delhi on Wednesday.

“They have got batsmen that can score all around the ground. When they put you under pressure it’s difficult to contain.

“I think obviously taking wickets throughout is important, and obviously the way we play their spinners through middle will be important as well.”

After making last year’s World Cup final, the Kiwis have again excelled at the shortest form of the game, winning all four pool matches in India.

The nature of the wins had given them confidence, Hesson said.

“I think we also realise that’s gone now. We’ve given ourselves a chance of a semi-final and we’ll just be as consistent as we can be and see what unfolds.”

They would not be changing their methods for the semis, he said.

“No matter what conditions you are dealt with, you just have to find a way. I think the word of the tournament has been adaptation.

“We’ve had four different surfaces and we are going to have another one in Delhi.”

Hesson said in-form opener Martin Guptill will return after sitting out the 75-run win over Bangladesh with a hamstring strain, meaning the New Zealanders will have a full squad to pick from.